Non-obedient patient and overconfident doctor

  • Posted on: September 10, 2020

Sanat had a long history of diabetes and hypertension – considered as lifestyle diseases. He was well known to his general practitioner (GP) as he often visited him for treatment.

During one of the visits, Sanat complained of cough and cold along with intermittent fever. The GP prescribed some medicines, but to no avail. An X-ray was advised, which reported cyst in left pericardial region. This back and forth of doctor visits and new prescriptions continued for some years!

The GP, kept on changing line of treatment for some reasons, and even prescribed anti-TB drugs! Sanat’s condition worsened and he approached a hospital where the respiratory medicine specialist diagnosed him as a severe case of cough and fever since fifteen years. Earlier report of cyst in pericardial region was also confirmed.

A surgery was performed at this hospital after which Sanat recovered.

What a miracle, thought Sanat. But memories of frequent visits at the doctor’s clinic returned soon. He sued the GP and alleged that the doctor simply kept changing medicines for years, and finally advised anti-TB drugs without performing any tests.

The GP, in his honest defence, stated that the patient was very irregular. He never turned up for follow up visits and always came when things went wrong. He was advised to test blood sugar every month and show reports, but never complied. Patient’s indiscipline was the root cause behind his prolonged suffering, I haven’t done anything wrong, concluded the visibly perplexed GP.

The Commission agreed that the patient did not comply with doctor’s advice on many occasions, but clearly saw where the doctor went wrong. From the long list of prescriptions and medical records, it was observed that the doctor was wrong on two counts. Firstly, he prescribed anti-TB medicines without actually confirming presence of TB. And secondly, he was not a specialist to treat patients who had cyst in pericardial region.

Prescribing drugs without confirming an ailment and treating without requisite skills were the doctor’s mistakes, and he was held negligent.

Source: Order pronounced by West Bengal Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, on 18th December, 2019.